Alonso in ‘best shape’ of career as he prepares for F1 return

LONDON (AFP) – Fernando Alonso said on Tuesday he was in the best shape of his career as he prepares to end his two-year Formula One (F1) exile with the repackaged Alpine team.

The double world champion had surgery on his broken jaw after he was involved in a cycling accident in Switzerland last month.

But he said he was in the “best shape I’ve ever been before, both physically and mentally”, following the virtual Alpine 2021 car launch in Britain.

The Alpine team, which was Renault – and will still race with a Renault engine – finished fifth in the constructors’ championship last season with Daniel Riccardo, who has been replaced by Alonso, coming fifth in the drivers’ championship.

“I’ve been preparing myself for this comeback for quite a while now and I have fresh motivation,” said Alonso, who was world champion in 2005 and 2006 with Renault.

Alonso will team up with Frenchman Esteban Ocon, with former Red Bull and AlphaTauri driver Daniil Kvyat announced as the team’s reserve driver.

The 39-year-old left F1 in 2018 to set his sights on becoming only the second driver after Britain’s Graham Hill to complete the so-called Triple Crown – winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans 24 Hours and Indy 500.